This is what, the third article now? Yes, I think so, I wrote this and this in the past, but it’s a subject worth discussing. Team Fortress 2 is a very old game now, it’s slowly leeching players to Valve’s new baby, Dota 2, and it’s still in need of a few things to keep up with the burst of class-based first person shooters suddenly appearing around here.
The first thing is the biggie. Competitive matchmaking. We should have had it years ago. It’s been 8 years now and we still don’t have anything like this. Yes, there is a matchmaking in the works, using UI elements from MvM, but it doesn’t work and no one has any idea what’s going on with it. It’s all been shrouded in mystery and hinted at by lucky people who go and visit Valve. On the plus side, at least there’s evidence that it exists, but why have Valve waited for so long when Dota 2 and CS:GO both have ranked?
Ranked play brings us another thing TF2 lacks: an incentive to get better. There’s a ton of funny amusing stuff in TF2. Joke weapons like the Market Gardener and the Mantreads promote silly gameplay in which you die over and over again trying to kill people. The abundance of hats means that people end up preferring to trade rather than play. And joke taunts mean people mess around in spawn than leave it to push the cart. While all of these are fine in moderation, it’s annoying for the people who ARE trying to play normally, as it leaves them with essentially less players than everyone else. This problem could so easily by fixed the same way the Smash Brothers games do it – have one mode for people who want to dick around, with random crits and instant respawn and all that, then a more serious game mode where people can focus on improving – for triumph and victory. Preferably not on maps like 2fort.
SPUF user Chopp also brings us a good point – there is a huge lack of inconsistency in TF2, particularly in maps. Some maps have lights that you can walk on, some maps don’t and you pass straight through them. Other maps have ledges that work on one side and don’t on the other. When messing around on KOTH_Stallone the other day, we noticed that there was a ledge on BLU side near Surf (the house with the surfboards) that allowed Snipers to get a better view and was much harder to stand on for people on RED. Stallone though is an unofficial community map, and being a competitive map, these things often get fixed. The consistencies though remain throughout all TF2 maps, official, official community or not.
One thing I’d also like to see is the return of other game modes. Arena has been completely forgotten. Arena Respawn is a vague attempt to bring it back, but that game mode still needs tweaking. On the flip side, you have game modes like Special Delivery that never have a chance to become popular because the only map available is damn awful. Medieval Mode was promising but has so many Demoknights and Snipers that everyone else (apart from the odd Soldier/Scout/Medic) is rendered moot. The only map available for it really doesn’t help matters. Why not beta-test some game modes on it or something?
There’s also things that TF2 doesn’t need. It doesn’t need decorated weapons. It really doesn’t. The game is already incredibly all over the place when it comes to visual clutter. People have already complained about weapons that look like other weapons, in the form of a factory new orange decorated rocket launcher that looks eerily similar to a rocket jumper. There’s extra strange counters and a billion variations of each decorated weapon and gold stuff and all sorts.
On a final note, we really need to use the TF2 beta properly. It could be used to test so many ideas. But it sits there gathering dust yet again because nothing truly good is ever tested. Robot Destruction was a good start, but it all petered away. Cactus Canyon was forgotten and got added to the Payload map rotation semi-finished, with stage 2 abruptly removed. Mannpower too has been forgotten, but that’s probably a good thing.